Facebook fever drives US stocks higher

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US stocks opened higher Friday as investors awaited the historic market debut of Facebook, with Europe's financial crisis momentarily receding from view.

In the first two minutes of trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 47.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to 12,489.87.

The S&P 500-stock index climbed 5.52 (0.42 percent) to 1,310.38.

The tech-rich Nasdaq, where Facebook's shares will begin trading at about 11 am (17:00 SA time) rose 9.07 (0.32 percent) to 2,822.76.

“Investors keyed in on the market debut of Facebook. The social networking company was expected to raise up to $18.4 billion and become the first US company to be worth more than $100 billion at its debut, Wells Fargo Advisors said.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 28, wearing his trademark hoodie, rang the opening bell on the Nasdaq remotely from his company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Priced at $38 per share, Facebook shares will trade under the symbol “FB” on the Nasdaq, giving the leading website a dizzying value of $104 billion at its initial public offering.

Facebook is raising $16 billion from the share offering, making it the richest IPO after financial giant Visa in 2008, according to Renaissance Capital. The addition of a possible stock “over-allotment” could boost the total to $18.4 billion. - Sapa-AFP

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